Set a Different Alarm for Every Day of the Week

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Every Wednesday, this YouTube series adds a new music video of a screaming frog saying “It is Wednesday, my dudes.” Wouldn’t one of these Wednesday songs make a better alarm for your Wednesday mornings than “Radar (Default)”? You can make this happen, my dudes.

The best alarm is music you like but never listen to

You should never use your favorite music as an alarm, because once a song becomes your alarm, it stresses you out any time you hear it. Personally, I like to use novelty music, like “It’s Not a Moon” by Bad Lip Reading, or vaporwave Seinfeld: music that won’t come up on shuffle or in a coffeeshop.

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The key to this music is that it’s fun, it’s catchy, but it’s already kind of annoying, and it’s often not even available on Spotify or iTunes. It usually doesn’t end up in your jogging playlist. This stuff makes great ringtones, and it makes great alarms.

Alternately, you can use “classic” songs that you know, but wouldn’t really throw into your own music library. Like oldies, or music from movies or video games, or deep cuts that you usually skip over. They just have to beat “Marimba” or “By the Seaside” or your regrettable 99-cent download of “Minions Saying Banana.”

A different alarm every day

Consider this: if your alarm tells you what day it is, you get a head start the second you wake up. And both novelty music and golden oldies are great at telling you the current day. Consider this lineup:

Not all of these songs are available on iTunes or wherever you buy your music. And maybe you don’t actually own any music but stream it through Apple Music or Spotify or (hahaha) Tidal. That’s OK, you can still turn any song into an audio file with the apps below.

How to turn any music into an alarm

If you want to use popular music as your alarm, most platforms make it easy. Android and iOS let you use any song in your music library as an alarm. So do the Google Home speaker and the Amazon Echo.

If your song is buried in a YouTube video or a Soundcloud stream, then extract an mp3 of the audio with the website Peggo or the free app 4K YouTube to MP3. Those are our two favorite ways to get audio from YouTube.

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If your song is in some other stream or video, like Spotify or an AVI file, you can still record it by capturing audio from any app. Just use the audio editor Audacity (free for Windows/Mac/Linux), or a free trial of Piezo (Mac only), a simple app specifically for capturing audio from any app.

Then throw your new recordings into your mobile music library of choice, and you’re golden. Or you could just wake up every morning to System of a Down screaming “Wake up!”

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How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere

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Abstract photography, otherwise known as non-objective, conceptual, or experimental photography, is a tricky subject. According to Wikipedia, abstract photography is “a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and has been crafted through the use of photographic equipment processes or materials”.

So basically, abstract photography is image-making that doesn’t aim to represent reality but rather visually explores the components that construct conventional subject matter.

To seek out abstract photography in any opportunity, you must shift your focus away from describing the world in a literal way, focusing on line, shape, form, space, color, contrast, pattern and texture instead. These elements come together to create an image that explores the way you appreciate your visual environment.

Here are a few tips to finding opportunities for abstract photography, wherever you are!

Previsualization

How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere

Previsualization in photography is a skill where a photographer “sees” the outcome of an image before it is taken. By breaking down a potential image in your mind’s eye, you can dissect a scene, prioritizing the best possible visual results.

This is especially useful in abstract photography, where the outcome of a photograph sometimes isn’t immediately obvious.

Previsualizing will help you make the most of any potential photographic opportunity. Imagine encountering a fence for example. You could easily photograph the fence line and move on, but your photograph won’t be very engaging. Or, you could mentally analyze the fence’s structure, breaking it down into abstract categories (color, shape, line, pattern, etc.) to take advantage of the scene and exploit it to its full potential.

Go macro

macro flower - How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere

Macro photography is an especially unique form of photography, illuminating what often goes unseen to the naked eye. Provided you have a macro lens, extension tubes, or even a magnifying glass, one of the best things about abstract macro photography is that you can get an interesting result photographing just about anywhere.

Abstract macro photography is a great opportunity to focus on subtle details in a scene without being overly concerned about representing a specific subject. Focusing on abstracted aspects such as color and shape rather than the subject means you can explore the building blocks of an image visually.

Look for lines

Abstract photography focuses on the naked ingredients of image making, but sometimes this means a change-up in your photographic approach. One great way to tease out abstract photographic opportunities is to focus on a compositional technique. For example, focusing on lines will reveal opportunities you may have passed over before.

How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere

As one of the most basic elements of composition, lines are an extremely powerful tool in visual art. Lines that guide a viewer’s eye around an image (also known as leading lines) are a way to point towards a specific subject or highlight the geometry of a scene. They can also add a sense of urgency with straight, abrupt lines or lend a sense of calm or peace with softer, curved lines.

Concentrating on lines will reveal new opportunities in any environment, all you have to do is look.

Seek out texture

Texture in photography is one of the most under-utilized compositional tools. Exploring texture creates an image that people can “feel” in their mind. The feeling of touch appeals to a viewer’s understanding of the world.

By incorporating texture into an abstract photograph, you are connecting to an audience’s knowledge of how the world behaves under the sense of touch. And because most things feel like something, there are plenty of opportunities for textural abstract photography. Try looking for peeling paint, roughed up wood or dried leaves.

How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere

Investigate color

Color is all around us, it’s a universally powerful tool of communication. For example, psychologically, yellow has associations with joy and energy, whereas green is associated with nature and calm. It’s just the same in abstract photography.

Focusing on color investigates our associations with the environment around us. It transcends abstract subject matter to connect with a viewer on a psychological level.

Making color the center of interest in your photography will reveal new and unusual abstract subject matter too. Objects that may seem boring or mundane come alive with a bit of color, creating unusual and interesting abstract photography.

How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere - color

Conclusion

The scope of abstract photography is exciting and endless. Although it’s exact meaning is hard to define, abstract photography provides space for creativity and experimentation.

It’s the perfect excuse to shake up your photographic practice, all you have to do is look! Please share some of your abstract photos in the comments below.

The post How to Find Opportunities for Abstract Photography Anywhere appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Dark web shop was selling access to a major airport’s security systems

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Michael Mahovlich

While McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team was looking into dark web marketplaces, it found a number of shops offering stolen access to various companies’ and groups’ systems. Disturbingly, among the findings was access to a major international airport’s systems, which could be bought for the low price of just $10. McAfee said the shop appeared to be offering access to the airport’s security systems as well as its building automation, surveillance and transit systems.

The shop was selling access to the airport’s remote desktop protocol (RDP), which gives employees remote access to certain computers on the airport’s network. “This access could allow cybercriminals to do essentially anything they want — create false alerts to the internal security team, send spam, steal data and credentials, mine for cryptocurrency or even conduct a ransomware attack on the organization,” McAfee said. The recent SamSam ransomware attacks often used RDP vulnerabilities to gain access to networks.

McAfee said that it also came across access to “multiple government systems,” some of which were linked to the US, as well as “dozens of connections linked to health care institutions.” For security reasons, McAfee didn’t name the airport or any other entities that it found access to in its search, but it notified them of the breaches. The company also warned that this is a major problem across industries and it’s one that needs to be more effectively addressed. “Governments and organizations spend billions of dollars every year to secure the computer systems we trust,” said McAfee. “But even a state-of-the-art solution cannot provide security when the backdoor is left open or carries only a simple padlock.”

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YouTube launches new tool for finding and removing unauthorized re-uploads

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Re-uploading videos on YouTube is a favorite of scammy channels that try to profit from other people’s work. Copyright owners already have a number of ways to protect their content, but today, the service is introducing a new tool that automatically scans every newly uploaded video to check if it’s a re-upload of an existing one or “very similar” to a video that’s already on the site.

It’s worth noting that this new tool, dubbed ‘copyright match,’ won’t work for clips, only full videos. YouTube also notes that it’s important that the creator is the first person to upload the video because the time of the upload is how it shows matches.

When the tool finds a match, the creator can choose what to do. The options here are either doing nothing and feeling flattered that somebody would care about your mediocre cat video, get in touch with the other creator and have a nice chat about what happened, or ask YouTube to remove the offending video (which is probably what most people will opt for).

Now a lot of this sounds like YouTube’s existing Content ID program and while it uses very similar technology underneath, the company stresses that this tool is explicitly meant to recognize unauthorized re-uploads. Content ID, however, is mostly meant for the copyright owners of music and music videos, trailers, and recordings of performances.

Starting next week, the new copyright match tool will roll out to all creators with more than 100,000 subscribers. The company plans to roll it out to a wider base of users over the next few months.

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How to build a team of superheroes at your startup

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How to build a team of superheroes at your startup

Wonder Woman! Iron Man! That startup employee!

Every person in your startup has the potential for “hero-dom,” and it’s your job to give them the opportunity to realize it and share their story. 

On this episode of “Masters of Scale,” LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman discusses the concept of “hero-dom” and how it applies to companies large and small. 

“So no matter what their [employees] super powers are — and no matter how fast you’re moving — everyone on your team should be able to tell their story of hero-dom,” Hoffman says. 

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HPE supercomputer will help simulate mammalian brains

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HPE

Scientists are about to get a serious assist in their quest to simulate brains. HPE has deployed Blue Brain 5, a supercomputer dedicated to simulations and reconstructions of mammalian brains as part of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Blue Brain Project. The system is based on HPE’s existing SGI 8600 (above) and packs a hefty 372 compute nodes between its Xeon Gold, Xeon Phi and Tesla V100 processors, not to mention a whopping 94TB of memory. More importantly, it’s flexible — Blue Brain 5 has four configurations to prioritize different computing tasks, and it can host subsystems geared toward relevant tasks (including deep learning and visualization) while operating as a cohesive whole.

This kind of power is necessary, even if simulating a complete brain is still a long ways off. Blue Brain co-director Felix Schürmann noted that modelling a single brain region can require solving 100 billion simultaneous equations — Blue Brain 5’s highly parallel 1.06 petaflops can theoretically handle that quickly.

The system has been installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre in Lugano, although it’ll be a while before you see the results of what it can do. It could easily prove crucial, though. EPFL hopes the supercomputer will help fulfill the school’s goal of modelling entire regions of a mouse’s brain by 2020. The data it generates should advance humanity’s understanding of the brain and may lead to new disease treatments that weren’t even plausible before.

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U.S. Air Force drone documents found for sale on the dark web for $200

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You never quite know what you’ll find on the dark web. In June, a threat intelligence team team known as Insikt Group at security research firm Recorded Future discovered the sale of sensitive U.S. military information in the course of monitoring criminal activity on dark web marketplaces.

Insikt explains that an English-speaking hacker purported to have documentation on the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. Remarkably, the hacker appears to have been selling the goods for “$150 or $200.”

According to Insikt Group, the documents were not classified but also contained sensitive materials including “the M1 Abrams maintenance manual, a tank platoon training course, a crew survival course, and documentation on improvised explosive device (IED) mitigation tactics.” Insikt notes that the other set of documents appears to have been stolen from a U.S. Army official or from the Pentagon but the source was not confirmed.

The hacker appeared to have joined the forum explicitly for the sale of these documents and acknowledged one other incident of military documents obtained from an unaware officer. In the course of its investigation, Insikt Group determined that the hacker obtained the documents by accessing a Netgear router with misconfigured FTP login credentials. When the team corresponded with the hacker to confirm the source of hacked drone documents, the attacker disclosed that he also had access to footage from a MQ-1 Predator drone.

Here’s how he did it:

“Utilizing Shodan’s popular search engine, the actors scanned large segments of the internet for high-profile misconfigured routers that use a standard port 21 to hijack all valuable documents from compromised machines.

“Utilizing the above-mentioned method, the hacker first infiltrated the computer of a captain at 432d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Reaper AMU OIC, stationed at the Creech AFB in Nevada, and stole a cache of sensitive documents, including Reaper maintenance course books and the list of airmen assigned to Reaper AMU. While such course books are not classified materials on their own, in unfriendly hands, they could provide an adversary the ability to assess technical capabilities and weaknesses in one of the most technologically advanced aircrafts.”

Insikt Group notes that it is “incredibly rare” for hackers to sell military secrets on open marketplaces. “The fact that a single hacker with moderate technical skills was able to identify
several vulnerable military targets and exfiltrate highly sensitive information in a week’s
time is a disturbing preview of what a more determined and organized group with superior
technical and financial resources could achieve,” the group warns.

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This 250 Square-Foot Space-Inspired Tiny House Pays Homage to Moon Missions

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For a glimpse at an over-the-moon imaginative design, look no further than this space craft-inspired tiny house in central Washington constructed by naval architect Kurt Hughes. With the help of his boatbuilding prowess, Hughes came up with a hexagonal domicile that hovers nine feet above the ground on the support of three steel beams attached to concrete pads.

The 250-square-foot dwelling weighs approximately 3,000 pounds, which only amounts to one-tenth of the heft of the Apollo 11 lunar module after which it was modeled.

“I wanted an homage to an era when anything was possible,” he says. “And, the Apollo astronauts trained only a few miles from here,” Hughes told Seattle Times of the space-y home’s riverfront location.

A crafty combination of ingenuity and space travel blueprints helped Hughes breathe life into his vision of “a habitable dwelling with the latest marine composite technology, providing creature comforts with low impact on the land and high amazement factor.”

The home is accessible via 12 solar-lighted steps that form a path to a porthole-bearing front door. Once inside, the open main level features a galley, bathroom, nook, storage area and a geodesic dome through which tons of natural light floods the space. The bathroom casts its own glow, thanks to its phosphorescent epoxy flooring. A ladder leads to a lounging area for two, a kitchen and a bed. On the upper level, a deck offers views of the surrounding landscape. Hughes also added a personal touch: inside hangs an autographed lunar module graphic from his daughter’s space camp days at The Museum of Flight, signed by Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise.

“Typically, an architect can look at a building and understand what’s going on,” Hughes said. “I looked at the lunar lander and couldn’t figure it out. While it always was, ‘Don’t just do a box, like almost everybody else,’ this is a proof of concept for building a house like a modern boat is built.”

h/t Zillow

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Über sled: The Earle Motors Ducati ‘Alaskan’

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Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
Most customs live relatively sedate lives: buzzing around the city, maybe a blast into the country at the weekend, and then a couple of hours cooling down outside a café or pub.

If you’ve ploughed hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into a bike, you’re not likely to put it through a torture test. But that’s exactly what LA-based Alex Earle has just done with his latest build. He’s thrashed this Ducati dirt bike for two weeks and hundreds of miles through Alaska’s toughest terrain, and lived to tell us the tale.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
‘The Alaskan’ is only Alex Earle’s second build, but he describes it as a return to his roots. It’s a supremely practical machine, designed for long distance, off road expeditions.

“It’s a middleweight ADV bike with all the necessities and none of the frills,” he says. “Rugged and capable.” And also, we might add, very sharp-looking too.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
Alex is a man with his finger on the pulse. He’s a designer at VW America, and three years ago anticipated the current trend for street trackers with a sleek Ducati Monster conversion.

We were curious to see where his current inspiration comes from, and it turns out to be true adventure bikes: not the kind that dawdle through Baja California, but the kind that might tackle the Road of Bones in the Russian Far East.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
He’s drawn to “the experience of thriving in an alien, inhospitable place” and cites the film The Martian as a trigger for this concept. Hence the dusty grey bodywork and the striking NASA-themed logo on the tank.

“The concept was to build and campaign a bike for the back roads and trails of Alaska, and make some memories. The vast distances and remote locations require a high degree of self-sufficiency and flexibility, so the bike is endowed with high capacity multi-tanks, armor and a winch.”

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
The Alaskan is based on a 2017 Ducati Desert Sled, which Alex selected for its strengthened frame, longer swingarm and taller suspension—as well as the relatively simple air cooled 803 cc L-twin motor.

“Admittedly the Ducati Scrambler could use a few more horses on the highway,” says Alex. “But in the dirt, the power is ample and easily controlled. All the more reason to stay on the dirt!”

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
Vital extra power is released by the high-mounted Termis, which deliver the usual Ducati bark (“My favorite sound”) and keep the exhaust up out of harm’s way.

Unlike many Ducati Scrambler owners, who gear their bikes a little higher to relax the engine at highway speeds, Alex has geared his down. He’s dropped the ratio about 10% using new sprockets, going from 15F/46R to 14F/48R.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
He’s also lengthened the swingarm by almost three inches, to aid stability. “It takes the wheelbase out to 62”, which seems ideal for heavily loaded, high-speed dirt,” he says. “It feels a lot like my old [Yamaha] WR.”

The new rims are ultra-strong Excel A60s, a tough alloy design used by several factory motocross race teams. They’re laced to the original Ducati hubs, but Alex has boosted the front wheel two sizes to 21”.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
“This wheel package is critical if you intend to use a bike off-road. The skinny 21″ front cuts through sand and mud, and climbs easily over taller obstacles.”

It also opens up a world of tire options not available to lesser specs. For this trip, Alex used Pirelli Scorpion tires—both Rally and XC Mid-Hards.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
The biggest visual change is the bodywork, though. The hand-formed fuel tank holds six gallons, and is supplemented by an extra two in the tail unit. Which lifts capacity to almost double the stock 3.57 gallons (13.5 liters).

Right behind is a solo seat, narrow yet plush for long days in the saddle. It’s flanked by a heavy-duty luggage carrier system, with wide enduro-style foot pegs below.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
To avoid mishaps, Alex has also fitted heavy-duty crash bars, a bulletproof Kevlar skid plate, and a Scotts Performance steering stabilizer.

Even in July, temperatures in Alaska can drop to the low 50s (11 degrees Celsius), so the Ducati is now sporting heated grips and bark buskers to keep wind chill at bay.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
And despite the long hours of daylight in the northern summer, this bike pumps out a serious amount of light—via an LED headlamp in a customized protective cage, plus a ‘crazy powerful’ Baja Designs supplementary LED.

There’s a carbon fiber wind deflector to keep the icy wind away, and the low front fender is carbon fiber too. And if the fecal matter hits the air recirculation device, there’s a mount for a compact Warn winch to tug the Desert Sled out of trouble.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
So The Alaskan is not just a pretty face. But after two weeks of rough track riding and camping, how did it fare?

Alex has just got back to LA, and he’s more than pleased with the bike’s performance. “It exceeded my expectations as an off-roader,” he says. “Really works well in that environment, with deep river crossings, mud, snow and gravel.”

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
“There were a few teething pains that I was able to fix in the field, like leaks from the fuel fittings. But the throttle response, traction, tire/wheel package, load capacity and 250-mile range were all better than I anticipated.”

The Ducati will arrive back in Alex’s garage in a few days, and he’ll tear it down again. “I’m thinking of building a second, stripped-down variant for trips in warmer climes,” he confides.

Sounds like an excellent plan. We’re just hoping we don’t have to wait another three years to see that one.

Earle Motors | Facebook | Instagram

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled

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